Welcome to this episode of Parna Garden on composting Composting is a biological process in which microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi, break down organic matter into simpler substances. This process produces a nutrient-rich soil amendment for growing plants and trees. It is nature’s way of recycling biodegradable organic waste. Although composting process occurs in nature all the time, by human intervention you can speed up this process. There are four main ingredients required for backyard composting The first one is carbon or brown materials such as dried leaves and paper. The second ingredient is nitrogen, also known as greens. You can get this from vegetable scraps from your kitchen, grass clippings from your backyard or coffee grounds The third ingredient is water or moisture. I collect rainwater and use it in my garden. The fourth ingredient is oxygen from the air Autumn leaves that you see here are a great source of carbon or brown materials You can collect these leaves in paper bags, or trash bags from hardware stores or even in a used soil bag from your backyard I have raked the autumn leaves from my yard and made a pile here I am going to collect them in a used soil bag and use them to start a fresh batch of compost in a 30 pound metal trash can with a lid Having a lid on your composter prevents critters such as mice, rats and raccoons from entering the compost Here is that trashcan I was talking about. I have drilled holes into this trash can so air can circulate freely Here is a pile of partially decomposed compost in my backyard I’m going to take a small portion of this compost and add it to the fresh batch of compost that I’m starting. The microorganisms in this compost would help to kick-start the composting process in the fresh batch So I’m adding a few shovelfuls of the compost here Next, I’m adding a few handfuls of autumn leaves collected earlier from my backyard This forms the brown layer or the carbon layer in the compost pile. Alternating layers of carbon material or the brown material and nitrogen material or the green material along with few sprinkles of water speeds up the process of composting. I’m also adding a few shovelfuls of partially made compost here Next, I’m adding a layer of vegetable scraps into this mix This forms the nitrogen layer or the layer of greens in the compost pile It is perfectly fine if it includes a few paper napkins and dryer lint Because, eventually the microbes in the compost pile will break them down and turn them into compost. Now that we have a layer of nitrogen, it is time to add another layer of carbon by adding these autumn leaves. Next, I’m spraying a generous amount of water to moisten the layers that we formed in this compost pile Water is the third essential element for composting? Next I’m adding a layer of used coffee grounds collected from local Starbucks into this compost pile Coffee grounds are considered as a good source of nitrogen And so, here I’m making another layer of nitrogen in the compost pile If there are large clumps, it’s good to separate them, and then add them into the compost pile I’m adding one final layer of autumn leaves here and spreading them evenly on top of the pile To moisten the top layers, I’m going to spray them with some more water as you can see here I have intentionally not filled this container all the way to the top to ensure that there is sufficient oxygen for the microorganisms to function Finally, I’m closing the lid to stop critters from entering the compost pile The holes you see on the container here should also help in air circulation This is an open compost pile that I had started few weeks ago Turning the compost pile using a pitchfork Helps in circulation of oxygen into the center of the pile This helps to speed up the composting process Here is how it looks after about five weeks As you can see here the organic matter has partially decomposed and it is in the process of turning into rich dark color if you dig to the center of the pile you will see more decomposed organic matter. I will look forward to using finished compost from these compost piles during the growing season of 2018 Thank you for stopping by. If you like this video and would like to see more gardening videos from Parna Garden, please hit the subscribe and like buttons below.